Choosing the right printing business software can be daunting. For one thing, there is no such this as a typical printing business anymore. Digital printing has blurred the distinctions that once existed between companies that used different types of printing methods to produce different types of jobs.
Today, digital printing devices can handle almost any type of job that once required either a screen-printing press, offset press, or label printer. With the right mix of digital printing equipment, a printing business can choose to produce everything from business cards, labels, and marketing collateral to T-shirts, promotional products, signs, and displays.
As a result, formerly separate categories of printing business software seemed to have merged. Today, software developers strive to offer a huge variety of features to a diverse range of customers.
To avoid becoming totally confused by all of your options for print business management software, consider these do’s and don’ts.
DO have a clear understanding of what business problem you need the software to solve. Instead of being dazzled by a long list of features, focus on the core business functions you need the software to support.
DO look for software that can perform those core business functions very efficiently and incredibly well. For example, if you need to be able to provide fast, accurate estimating for many types and sizes of print jobs, focus on finding excellent print estimating software.
DON’T buy software loaded with features your business may never use. Too many features will make the software too complicated for busy shop-floor employees to use.
DO have a clear vision of how you want to grow your business. What types of capabilities do you expect to add over the next one or two years? Will you be diversifying into new markets? Can the software accommodate your plans to add new types of equipment or adopt different types of pricing for different markets?
DON’T rely exclusively on the recommendations of others. Their business goals and requirements may be much different than yours.
DO get shop-floor employees involved in the selection process. While your leadership team may be impressed by financial reporting and analytics features, those capabilities might be meaningless to the employees who will use the software every day to keep jobs flowing through your shop.
DON’T buy software based on outdated technology. Even though some well-established products may have a large base of customers, that doesn’t necessarily mean the the company has kept pace with technology. Perhaps many of those customers would be happy to discover better options based on newer technologies.
DON’T get locked into a program that can’t be customized easily. Business opportunities for printing firms are changing quickly. You may choose to offer specialized services that differentiate your business and add value to your customers.
DO take your time to thoroughly evaluate different options. The right software should become an essential part of your business operations for years to come. Make sure the software can handle your current needs and grow to accommodate future changes.
DO reduce the amount of setup time required by laying the groundwork during the product evaluation process. Gather and update all of your cost data and pricing models so you will be ready to roll soon after making a decision. Modern cloud-based systems, such as Ordant, can be deployed faster than older self-hosted systems that require set up servers and networks..
DON’T expect software “solutions” to automatically fix efficiency problems in your shop. Estimating and order management software can’t work properly without ongoing updates of time, cost, and customer data.
DO use the selection and setup process as an opportunity to reevaluate your business operations. Are you using the right pricing strategies? Which jobs and customers are the most profitable? Which types of jobs cause the most headaches but return the least amount of profit? What types of jobs do you want to attract? If your employees don’t have to spend so much time estimating jobs or answering basic questions, what other types of services would you like to train them to perform?
Although choosing the right printing business software can be difficult, use the process as a time to rethink ways to improve your business. .
If you need software that can help you with functions such as estimating, order tracking, online proofing, purchase orders, customer relationship management, and invoicing, check out Ordant software. Our cloud-based software is fast, easy-to-use, and can grow with your business. Whether your business has roots in commercial printing, screen printing, label printing, or wide-format graphics, Ordant software makes it easy to customize pricing models and add new services as your firm evolves. Visit www.ordant.com to learn more and request a demo.